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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

In the midst of our budget crises and schools having to let teachers go, other teachers are being paid to not work. Yes, you read that right, people are being paid to NOT work. This is so wrong. Ironically, I was talking to my principal just today about the unions and how hard it is to let go of an employee. My focus is typically on the teachers since I am one, but it’s not just teachers. School employees all have their own unions. In my district, we have the “certificated” union and the “classified” union. Two separate unions, but same general idea. One is for teachers (certificated) and the other is for the other staff members who do not have a teaching certification (classified). 

My administrator (principal) was explaining how the union typically finds loop holes which makes it difficult for the district to get rid of the teacher (teacher also means any staff member!). In extreme instances such as sexual misconduct, child endangerment, etc., the staff member is let go fairly quickly and without a whole lot of fuss. However, simply being a “bad” employee is a whole other ball game. For instance, the staff member first has to be put on a “Plan of Success” in which the school has a special plan of action to help that staff member become successful at their job. Actually, let’s simplify it. There is a whole lot of red tape and bullshit that goes along with getting rid of a bad employee. If the administrator happens to miss a deadline or any one of the other bazillion little details that s/he is required to meet in regards to the employee, this means that the union has found their loop hole. If an employee claims, “I didn’t know,” it becomes the administrators job to PROVE that the employee did know. This all sounds fine and dandy, but it is taken out of extreme by the unions. What is meant to protect the innocent becomes loop holes to keep the guilty. Wrong, wrong, wrong!!

So, my blogger friend at Stiletto’s in the Sand alerted me to the fact that there has been recent news about just this. I wasn’t able to read much before my blood was boiling. Following are some key excerpts from the LA Times:

About 160 instructors and others get salaries for doing nothing while their job fitness is reviewed. They collect roughly $10 million a year, even as layoffs are considered because of a budget gap. [What is wrong with this picture?!?!?! Someone call in the budget police NOW! Taxpayers, scream and throw a fit! Something needs to be done NOW about this!!!]

For seven years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has paid Matthew Kim a teaching salary of up to $68,000 per year, plus benefits…His job is to do nothing… At no time is he to be given any work by the district or show up at school…

Most cases take months to adjudicate, but some take years. Kim, 41, has persisted the longest..the school board voted to fire him for allegedly harassing teenage students and colleagues. In the meantime, the district has spent more than $2 million on him in salary and legal costs. [The only thing that I can say is that I don’t even make anywhere near $68k a year and I work my ASS off to make what I make!]

As far as I know, there are no employees getting paid to do nothing in our district. I sure hope not. As an employee, dead beat being paid to do nothing employee, these people should be completely ashamed. I can not comprehend what type of person is ok with sitting at home doing nothing and getting paid for it. Do they have no shame? How can they even hold their head up? This is wrong. However, the employees aren’t completely to blame here. Why does the district allow this to go on for so long? Is it because of the legal issues such as all of the mediations and working within the time frame of the court system or is because the district simply hasn’t made it a priority? Again, all I can say is that if I were a taxpayer in these areas I would be having a fit. Heck, I am having a fit and I don’t even live there! I do not understand how this can go on. 

Quick!!! Someone do something!

 

This isn’t a very well written piece and I know it. Deal with it. This makes me too mad to spend too much time one it. 🙂 

 

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  • This news flash cracked me up. I’m sure all of us in the work force have tales that we can share about that dreaded office refrigerator, but this was really over the top. 
  • I recently followed a link to Stilettos in the Sand’s blog and became an instant “convert” if you will. She is an American citizen living in Saudi Arabia due to her American husband’s job. She shares bits of her daily life, Saudi news, and Saudi lifestyle. I must admit that I have been intrigued with the Middle East since my ex husband first went to serve during the Gulf War in 1990. He is currently in Iraq serving his THIRD tour.  The movie, Not Without My Daughter , was released in 1991. It would be awhile before I could stomach watching it, but it was a wonderful movie that depicted the lack of rights of non-citizen women, or women in general, in the Middle East. 
  • I am horrified at what is happening to schools nationwide. Funding is being taken away, teachers are being let go, classroom sizes are ever-increasing, supplies are ever decreasing, the number of school days are being decreased. When does enough become enough?  
  • Seattle, Washington is letting go of approximately 170 teachers. 
  • West Contra Costa schools in California are losing more than 100 teachers.  Although the link is for West Contra, layoffs are taking place all over California. 
  • Rochester, Minnesota laid off 78 teachers. 
  • Here’s another article I found funny. At first, I thought it was cruel, but after reading the article and doing a Michelle Obama Google Image search, I have to admit that I agree with Iman that Michelle Obama is not a “great beauty.” After all, look at Iman if you are unsure of her qualifications on beauty. 
  •  While my dog will not willingly eat her own pills, she willingly gulped down the cat’s antibiotic. Come on!
  • I am a Dean Koontz fan and have began reading The Darkest Evening of the Year. Having been working on my mater’s degree, I haven’t had much time for reading during the last two years. Now that I am done with classes, I am trying to get back into reading for pleasure. 
  • I find myself pondering religion a lot lately. This is hard to put into words. On a simple level, I feel the deep “need” to get back to church, and yet I simply don’t want to. I feel like we have tried every church in this valley and haven’t found a church that is what I feel is true to what I believe the Bible is about – primarily, loving unconditionally. I hate the judgment and biases that are engulfed in the churches. Hate it. 
  • I moved to this valley in 2004. The whole county, just over 2,800 square miles, has a third of the population of the city that I moved here from. In my opinion, the whole county is basically a red-neck, country society. Ironically, each small town thinks it is significantly better than the next. I can not tell you how humorous I find this. In my eyes, the eyes of an outsider, all of the towns are pretty much the same except for one tourist type of town that actually has some culture. Of course this town is looked down upon because they are more liberal and hippie-ish if you will. Really, it’s all just funny. 
  • Everyone seems to be impacted by the economy or they will be soon enough. It seems that if one person happens to be in a stable job, their spouse is not. While I feel fairly secure in my job, my son’s father has lost his job which means that I have lost child support. Ouch. Since I had to fight for it to begin with, this means that if I do happen to find out that he becomes employed again, I will have to fight to have child support re-instated. This means attorney fees. Again, ouch. 

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The stimulus went into effect and as a result, I got my extra $20 for the month in my March paycheck. Thanks, Obama. That’ll really help. What can I get with an extra $20?

1. Someone in another blog mentioned a tank of gas. Not where I live. Gas is about $2.20 a gallon. I can get 9.09 gallons of gas, a little more than half a tank. Good thing I have an economical car!
2. About 3 weeks worth of dog food (big dogs eat a lot!) 
3. About one and one third of a month of water. My monthly water bill is about $15 a month. 
4. About the same for trash.  
5. One meal out at a fast food place.  
6. About half a meal at a restaurant.  
7. 2 pounds of coffee beans.  
8. 5 cups of coffee at the coffee shop (frilly mochas and such, of course!) 
9. 7 1/2 school lunches for my children.
10. 4 gallons of organic milk.  
11. 6 1/2 gallons of “regular” milk. 
12. 8 loafs of bread. 

Thinking, thinking…
a gallon of paint? No.
a new garbage can? Nope.

13. Some new makeup

shoes? No.
medical expenses? No, but…

14. One doctor visit co-pay. 
15. Almost 3 haircuts for my son. Considering he needs hair cuts everything 3 weeks, this takes care of that. hmmm…. 

Ok, so I guess that there are some things that this “extra” $20 could buy and I guess every bit helps, but I hardly call $20 stimulating. Heck, you can’t even get stimulating equipment for $20.  

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My money is valuable, because, frankly, I have some. I am a fully employed individual which means that I am still able to afford the things that my children and I need. Furthermore, I recently purchased a home. The house was a foreclosure which means, it needs work. So this past week, I have been shopping. I have purchased a garage door, looked for carpet, and bought a kitchen table. 

The garage door place was wonderful. The man kept saying, “I’m sorry, I talk too much…” and he would continue talking which four days later cracks me up. I’m good with a person talking too much when they are telling me all about the product as this man was doing. I’m one of those odd balls that totally researches everything and reads all about the product no matter what it may be. What this man did not realize is that he didn’t really need to sell me on anything because every single person that I had spoken to about ‘where to get a garage door’ has referred me to this place. That’s good enough for me. 

Now we’ll talk about furniture shopping. Yep, they were all over me like there’s no tomorrow. My daughter even accused one of the sales clerks of stalking us. She was kind of creepy as she stood just far enough away and followed our every move. We finally made an abrupt exit out of a side door into the pouring rain just to get away from her. I did, however, end up finding the perfect table at a place with incredible prices and exceptional service and they weren’t even commission. Hindsight – getting rid of your kitchen table just because you are sick of it is not really a good idea. You should find a new table first lest your bed become the new family dining room. 

 

Our new "breakfast nook"

Our new "breakfast nook"

 

 

Here’s what I simply don’t get. Carpet shopping. If anything, I would think the carpet people would be bowing to me. Really, how much of a need is there for carpet in this economy? Not the case. I went to a carpet store and waited for 10 to 15 minutes. During this time, I saw 4 employees and was spoken to by no one. Yep, not even a hello or a “May I help you?” I was totally ignored even though there was only one other person in the store. Hmmmm. I have also left messages for carpet places. Guess how many have returned my call? Yeah, you got it, none. Carpet is the one thing that I need desperately and I can’t even get it. 

I keep hearing how badly the trade companies need business, yet I can’t even get service. I really don’t get it. I want new carpet. Who knew it’d be so hard to get.

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I Am a Snob

Yes, the jury is in and I am a snob raising snob children. This is the year that I stop using my credit cards and dig myself out of this financial hell-hole that I have created. In doing so, I recently told my children that we were going to go to the thrift store to try to find jeans. There is a nice thrift store not far from us. In fact, I recently donated over half a U-Haul load to them, but that’s beside the point. While my daughter was a little apprehensive, my son is appalled. He simply does not want to wear someone else’s clothes. I don’t get this. If we can find nice clothes, take them home and wash them, what’s the big deal? It’s not like I am buying them used underwear or anything. I look at the quality of clothes that I donate and the nearly new jeans that I have donated and think that I can surely find something at the thrift store equally nice. 

Here’s the reality, though. I don’t want used clothes, either.Ugh. Yes, I am a snob. I want to go to Nordstroms (haha…there isn’t even one in this town! The closest Nordstroms is about 4 hours away) and buy their nice, new clothes. Clothes that fit nicely and last forever. Clothes that look professional and make me feel like I look like a professional. 

This is stupid thinking in some regards. I live in a town in which the nicest store around is a Macy’s. This is not a nice Macy’s, but a sub-standard Macy’s. It has a long ways to step up before it meets the expectations of the reputation of a Macy’s. No, most people in my town shop at Walmart, Ross, TJMax or Goodwill. Of course, there is also Old Navy, the Gap, Aeropostle and some of the trendy stores, but most families seem to shop at Walmart or Goodwill…even those families that are in a higher economic position than I am. In fact, that was one of my attractions of this town. There is not the pressure of keeping up with the Jones’ like there was in the large town that I came from. 

So, some day soon, I will venture out of my comfort zone and see what the thrift store has to offer. I anticipate either finding many goods and leaving excited, or being grossed out by that weird smell, prices too expensive for used clothing, and a general sense of nausea. I really hope it’s the first and not the latter.

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